By Elly Leavitt

Published on November 10, 2018

It’s where you gather with friends, binge on Netflix with your roommate, and house your impressive stash of second-hand books—A living room has to be multifunctional, livable, and above all, personal. As such, the idea of living room decorating can often seem daunting. Between determining a focal point, finding a layout that makes sense to you, and staying under budget, there’s a lot to consider.

All of it starts, however, with sourcing images that inspire you. Go beyond a general Pinterest board of covetable living spaces, and consider breaking it down by style. Whether you want your space to feel larger (in which case, you might want to err towards the minimal) or you want a room that has timeless appeal (for this, you can’t go wrong with a mid century vibe), here are 16 living room ideas to get you started.

Modern Farmhouse Living Room

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Photography by Kate Osborne | Design by Studio Mcgee

The modern farmhouse style is great for anyone who wants their living room to have a rustic, cozy vibe that still feels fresh. Follow Joanna Gaines’ lead and stick to a neutral palette, adding an edge with contemporary accents. Try statement pendant lights or a cool faux leather sofa.

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

Look at any modern farmhouse space, and you’ll see tons of natural materials—namely, wood. Bring this in through your furniture, starting with your coffee table and ending with an accent chair or two. This rustic living room is a lesson in perfecting this particular style. It’s classic without feeling overdone.

Industrial Modern Living Room

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Courtesy of Fogia

Living room designs don’t have to be traditional. Embrace the modern with your decoration ideas—if you have the luxury of designing your space from scratch, get creative with the materials used. In this stunning space, concrete walls and floors instantly create a contemporary living room, lending an industrial touch to the home.

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Courtesy of Fogia

Mix metals with concrete for a contemporary industrial look. Here, iron console and chair legs play off the metal floor lamp, tying everything together in this small but stylish nook.

Sleek Minimalist Living Room

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Photography by Fantastic Frank

The core philosophy of minimalism is that decor should be simple and  pared back. This makes it perfect for anyone in search of small living room decorating ideas (less furniture = less clutter), but it doesn’t have to mean you’re relegated to a boring room. Instead, introduce  color in small doses. A richly hued throw blanket creates the perfect contract when draped over a crisp white sofa. Alternatively, try injecting color in more natural ways: If your climate allows it, why not include a citrus tree in your living space?

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

This space relies on interesting furniture—a sculptural coffee table and rattan floor pillows—to make up for the lack of color. Take a white living room and accent it with similarly subdued neutrals; dove grays and eggshell whites will be your best friends.

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

This modern living room decor pretty much defines “sleek minimalist”. To mimic this look, opt for contemporary pieces that reference the latest trends while staying true to  their minimal composition. A geometric side table instantly brings any nook into the 21st century, while acrylic furniture is a nod to one of the year’s most pervasive material trends.  

Colorful and Contemporary Living Room

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

This specific brand of living room design sits somewhere between simple and eclectic. Let’s call it “the colorful minimalist”: cool, clean-lined pieces presented in vibrant, attention-grabbing hues. With a cherry red ottoman and bright blue sofa, this otherwise whitewashed living room definitely packs a punch.

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Here’s how to master the colorful contemporary look in your living room design: Pick a color palette, and stick to it. Here, greens, pinks, and yellows all feature in varying shades. Go for a mod table or funky brass lamp to keep it from feeling too all over the place and even bohemian. You can find some really unique pieces at a flea market or even at IKEA—then, simply give it a fresh coat of paint to look completely bespoke

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

If we’re talking colorful and contemporary, it’s near impossible to ignore millennial pink, a hue that embodies both adjectives. The ever-popular color feels fresh in this living room, juxtaposed with a deep blue sofa and an abstract Cold Picnic wall hanging.

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Photography by Jeremy Liebman

Jessica Walsh’s primary palette is a thing of true color inspiration. Be it the geometric accent tables, the innovative bookshelf idea, or the strange-but-also-perfect art print hanging behind the sofa, there’s a lot to love and take note of from this living room. To replicate this color palette with success in your own space, be sure to buy judiciously so that every major item matches the scheme.

And if it doesn’t? That’s what smart storage solutions are for, friends. Your living room can always use some secret drawers.

Mid-Century Modern Living Room

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Photography by Douglas Friedman

Mid-century modern decor is super versatile: Try mixing and matching it with other aesthetics. For example, this living room combines sleek minimalism with a neutral color palette and streamlined pieces. Other items, like a statement-making table lamp and Eames-style dining room chairs, are purely retro additions. It’s the balance of the styles that makes this living room so striking.

Bohemian Maximalist Living Room

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Photography by Aaron Bengochea

What some may see as clutter, others see as bohemian maximalist. And that’s totally fine—if your personal style leans eclectic, indulge the imperfections and create a layered living room. This one has something interesting in every corner. From wall hangings and a smattering of plants to a range of textures and materials, take note of the variation in this living room and take a similar approach for your own space.

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Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Noticing a pattern here? The great news about being a maximalist is that it encourages collecting and displaying personal items. Layer sentimental objects and pieces collected from your travels with natural textures and plants for a calming living room you’ll actually want to live in.

Scandinavian Cozy Living Room

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Photography by Stadshem

Interior designers agree: Scandinavian style is a great (and timeless) option for any room of the house, particularly the living room. This may be because it focuses on intentional design. “Scandinavian design is centered around a calm, clutter-free, pared-back look. They rarely have anything in their homes that is superfluous,” says Niki Brantmark of My Scandinavian Home. Start with a white living room or a gray living room, then start adding pieces that embody all things hygge.

Material choice is important—linen is always a safe bet for this style, so choose throw pillows in the textural fabric. Stick to earthy tones rather than anything too saturated. Paired together, this will create the zen living room of all your Scandi Pinterest inspo board dreams.

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Photography by Fantastic Frank

Done properly, this style can make even a small living room look fabulous. Pick a base neutral—gray in the case of this living room—and incorporate it tonally for a multifunctional living room still looks cohesive. Choose a single color to make a dual-purpose space look cohesive yet defined.

And, of course, be sure to adhere to the basics of Scandi design principles. Opt for furniture in classic silhouettes and couple natural materials like wood or linen to make a multipurpose living room feel elevated.

See more living room inspo: 
10 Living Room Trends You’ll See Everywhere in 2019
This Sofa Trend Will Replace Your Mid-Century Obsession
Sunken Living Rooms Should Probably Make a Comeback, According to Will Taylor